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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Manual Focusing: Thoughts and Tips - Part 1(Guest Article)

I'm happy to present another guest article today. It's a comprehensive look at manual focusing by Chuck, who some time ago reviewed the Nikon AF Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5D lens

Guest writer Chuck here. Today, I present some thoughts on the subject of manual focus, and a few tips on how to do it better.

Why Focus Manually?

Why, indeed? Autofocus is so much more convenient. Push a button, and something — hopefully your subject — pops into focus. Take the picture.

Autofocus is fast and accurate. Given enough light and contrast, any decent AF camera/lens combination can achieve focus in under a second — even if it has to go from infinity all the way to minimum distance. In typical situations, the time needed can be closer to one-tenth of a second. With speed like that, you can magically keep a moving subject in focus with no more effort than it takes to keep your eye on it. Technology is wonderful.

In contrast, a human who is particularly quick at manual focusing may be able to bring a subject more-or-less into focus in about one second. That doesn't sound too bad — but it is. The problem is accuracy and rates thereof. If you take only one second to focus each of a series of shots, you will be lucky to achieve accurate focus one time out of ten. The other nine times, you will have something that is more or less out of focus. Compare that to a good autofocus setup, which can achieve an accurate-focus rate more like eight or nine times out of ten, and will do so taking far less than a second each time.

D800, Nikkor 135mm 2.8 AI-s @ f/4

Monday, January 8, 2018

AmateurNikon eBooks will be available for free

I'm pretty bad at promoting this website or my work in general, and as a result I often put something up and then forget about it entirely. As you can see clicking on the relevant tab on the top of the page - or here, alternatively - you'll see that I've put together six eBooks ranging from portrait photography to Photoshop tutorials.

Well, I noticed some days ago that, as a part of the Kindle Unlimited program, I would be able to offer all of these books available for free for 5 days.

Therefore, all AmateurNikon eBooks will be available for free from January 9 to January 13. I believe the offer is valid from/until midnight PST (Pacific Standard Time; GMT - 7).

A little look at what each book can offer you:
(remember, you can also read free previews if you visit my Amazon author page).

1. 17 Stunning Photoshop Tutorials

This is a collection of some of the tutorials I have written during the 5+ years AmateurNikon has been online. If you're looking for a handy, easy-access guide to some amazing tutorials (such as how to replicate the Silent Hill look or the True Detective look), take a look.

2. Photographing People

That was the first AmateurNikon eBook published. It contains several portrait (or, better, people-themed) photos, and is accompanied by exposure information and commentary, so that you have an insight on my decision process.

3. Photography and Affect: A New Theory of Vision

This is something you really ought to take a look at. If you want to buy only one eBook, get this one. In 125 pages, it contains some pretty important theoretical/methodological concepts related to photography, which will definitely help you to see and make better pictures

4. The Country of the Thousand Photos: A Photographic Excursion in Finland

The title is self-explanatory. In this volume you'll find some of the best images I've taken in Finland, together with some interesting facts about this country - did you know that in Finnish you can say ""airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student" using a single word: Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas ? :D

5. 255: Urban Black & White Photography

I almost named this book "255 shades of grey" :P 
In any case, it's a short collection of some urban black & white photos. Again, pretty self-explanatory title, don't you think?

6. Computer Poetry and Fractals: The Ghost in the Machine

And, last but not least, a very experimental little book. It doesn't have much to do with photography, actually, but there is still a visual element - its computer-generated graphic fractal representation. And, as the title reveals, the graphics are not the only thing that's computer-generated... ;)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Year Feelings of a Nikon Photographer

January 2018 Update
Well, technically it's December 30th 2017 when I'm writing this, but that's not important right now. What is important is that I found this older article, from three years ago, and as I'm reading it I'm realizing nothing has changed. Perhaps a few models here and there (we're now thinking about the Nikon D7500 instead of the D7100) but that's about it. All the lessons described below are still very relevant, and they will continue to be. That's the reason I'm reposting this article, and that's the reason you should read it

Happy New Year 2018!

So, it's 2015. What's new (at least for a little while longer)? There are many interesting options on the FX front (the D750 and the D810 are, for different reasons, the most exciting products at the moment). Things look great also on the DX front, with many different bodies with very capable sensors (both resolution- and performance-wise) for not much money.

Let's have a cup of coffee and think of what the New Year brings!
How about bad news? Still no D400 (an update for the D300, that is), and still no DX primes (particularly wide-angle). I don't want to sound pessimistic for those (still) awaiting these, but I think the more time passes, the less possible either of these are. The reason is that both are related to a pro-DX line of products, and it seems obvious that Nikon decision-makers have departed from that strategy. Basically, if a D7100 body and existing DX lenses aren't enough for you, Nikon wants you to go FX.